Category Archives: Worth Reading

Worth Reading: Global Warming – Understanding the Forecast

This post is part of Blog Action Day. Since I write about climate charts and graphs regularly, I struggled to find a topic that would fit Blog Action Day beyond what I usually write.

I am currently reading David Archer’s Global Warming – Understanding the Forecast and realized that telling my readers about this excellent book, accompanying lecture videos and on-line models would make a great post.


This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the science behind global warming, how sunlight warms the earth, how the earth emits infrared radiation (earth light),  how greenhouse gases affect the earth’s climate,  and how climate models work. David Archer, a professor in the  Geophysical Sciences Department at the University of Chicago, wrote this book for his class on global warming for non-science majors.

The book is accompanied with video lectures from his Fall, 2009 class and access to 8 on-line state of the art interactive models used by climate scientists.

David Archer’s book is the best climate science book that I have found.

Worth Watching: BBC Video Series – Climate Wars

I’m always on the lookout for good climate change websites to see who is doing what with climate data. I found a new site for me: that gave me a link to an incredible BBC series on Climate Wars that I highly recommend.

Here’s the YouTube link to this 3 part series, shown in 18 segments of about 10 minutes each.

The BBC series is hosted by Dr. Iain Stewart, a geology professor at Plymouth University in the UK. Dr. Stewart tells the story of the scientific analysis, controversy, and discovery of this critical topic over the 1972 – 2008 period. A must see for all interested in climate change and/or effective data analysis.

You may ask, how interesting can it really be? Watching the videos, I learned a great deal, including the fact that during the Cold War, US submarines measured the depth of sea ice in the arctic region. This previously top secret data, recently declassified, is helping scientists fill in data gaps by extending the satellite data record back in time.  Here’s a link to a post on Submarines and the Arctic Sea Ice Record.

Worth Reading: NASA GISS’s “Global Temperature Trends – 2008 Annual Summation”


NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies  (GISS) recent 2008 summary of global temperature trends is an excellent example of how effective charts and graphs can help communicate information on complex topics like climate change.

The report includes 7 charts, 4 trend charts and 3 color coded global images. This post looks at several of them to see how GISS uses charts to communicate climate trends.

Trend Chart and Global Image 

NASA GISS - 2008 Annual Summation

Figure 1: NASA GISS - 2008 Annual Summation

(link for pdf)

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Worth Reading: New York Times Says “Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power”

Ashleee Vance of the New York Times wrote an article on R on January 7, 2009 (link1). He then wrote a follow-up “R You Ready for R” on January 8, link2.

These articles have created a stir in the R – SAS world. Andrew Gellman has three posts:  post1, post2 and post3.  The NYTimes articles and Andrew’s posts  generated quite a few comments that are worth reading to see various views on R, SAS, and other statistical analysis tools.